Advice for parents and carers

ResoLUTiONs specialise in working with young people who use substances, as well as providing support to their parents and carers. We understand the range of emotions you may experience when realising that your child may be using substances. Here are our ‘top tips’ for dealing with this situation effectively:

Try not to panic
Taking a confrontational approach can lead to a breakdown in communication and a refusal to discuss the matter

Be prepared
Possible reactions by young people include:

  • Suspicion about your sudden interest
  • Doubts that they will be understood
  • Fear of hearing a lecture or being judged
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Nervous about you invading their privacy

If you have had communication difficulties in the past, be prepared for some resistance and think through the kinds of responses you might make. Don’t force having a discussion; the willingness to back off shows you are going to be respectful of their privacy and desire to be independent whilst modelling an understanding approach.

Create a calm and reassuring environment
This will help the young person to feel safe to discuss what is currently going on for them and also provide an opportunity to voice your concerns.

Do your homework
Find out more about alcohol and drugs and encourage the young person to. Demonstrating some useful knowledge about substances can support the young person to be more receptive to your advice and support. CGL’s website contains up to date information about drugs and alcohol. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact us and we will be happy to advise.

Be open and honest when communicating
Role modelling these behaviours will help the young person do the same. Ask open rather than closed questions, listen more than you talk, don’t discuss if they are under the influence, focus on the facts rather than your emotions, listen to their opinions and how they are feeling and don’t use scare tactics.

What’s going on for you at the moment?
Your attitude and behaviours around drinking alcohol and taking drugs have a major influence on your child – this influence begins at a very early age. Consider whether the advice you are giving contradicts the behaviours and attitudes that you generally have around substances. If it does, it may lack credibility for the young person.

What’s going on for them?
Alcohol and/or drugs can sometimes be used by young people when they have other, less apparent issues affecting their lives e.g. physical and mental health problems, relationships or even child sexual exploitation. Being patient and understanding will make it easier for a young person to disclose more difficult issues if there are any.

Experimental drug use is probably more common than you think among young people.
Finding out what the young person is using and how often will help you gain perspective on what you are dealing with. You cannot stop young people taking drugs – but through good communication you can ensure that they have the information, skills, and confidence to make healthy choices for themselves.

Some young people will develop problems in stopping drinking alcohol or using drugs.
For these young people, making changes can be difficult – be as supportive as possible and recognise that small steps can be very hard to take. Positively affirm any efforts they’re making and encourage them to seek help.

We are here to help
If the young person does not want to seek help, this can be frustrating and upsetting. If this happens, contact us for help and advice about how to encourage them to take the first steps towards change. If they are open to support from a professional, please consider making a referral to us (with their consent).

Supporting someone using drugs and/or alcohol can also put families under huge strain. It’s important that you look after your own wellbeing also during a time which can be extremely challenging.


Make Contact

2-12 Victoria Street, Luton LU1 2UA


ResoLUTiONs: 0800 054 6603
ResoLUTiONs Recovery Hub: 01582 965 123

My one on one sessions have really helped me to understand addiction more and how to help myself handle my situation and how to look after myself first.  Without my one on one sessions, I would not have coped.

Family, Friends and Carers team

The sessions during lunch time were a huge success. The students really showed an interest with all year groups coming to find out more information. A great service. Thank you for your time.

Jo Rogerson

Ashcroft High School

ResoLUTiONs helped me get my life back on track, and I’ll be eternally grateful for the support and guidance I have received. Recovery is a long and difficult journey, but only you can make that first step.

Service User

I am so excited for the next part of my life. I am truly blessed that they worked so hard to get me here. Thank you so much.

Service User

''ResoLUTiONs played a vital role in my recovery. The group work was a total turning point. I made myself a promise to not go back to where I was.''

Service User

‘’18 months ago I walked into the hub almost broken. I spent every day here in my corner. Gradually with the on-going support of staff and people I turned my life around. I have grown as a person and I can truly say the hub saved my life.’’

Service User

At first like all things, I was very nervous about coming to the hub, but I think it’s now been 7 months and I am feeling more relaxed with talking to people, I feel more confident and I am feeling happy and content. I am recovering at the Hub. Thank you.’’

Service User

‘’The Hub has helped me through my recovery, found my place and community where I can feel safe away from temptation and falling into my old way. Glad to also help others as well.’’

Service User